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Returns policy key to retail success post-COVID-19

New research from global e-commerce tech provider, Doddle, has found that 72% of Australian shoppers check a retailer’s returns policy before committing to a purchase. Further, 41% of consumers have stopped shopping with a retailer due to a poor online returns experience, confirming the importance of a returns experience to a business’ reputation and bottom-line sales.

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The biggest e-commerce returns pain points included returns postage costs (82%), followed by no refund capability – credit note or exchange only – (64%) and delays in refunds appearing in their bank account (43%).

Many retailers have extended their returns periods during COVID-19 from 14 days to 30 days or more, to provide consumers more time to complete a return transaction.

Doddle technology digitises the returns journey, allowing for analysis into the status of return volumes and data on why products are being returned. This functionality enables retailers to do away with paper returns slips and better plan returns processing.

Doddle APAC CEO, Justin Dery said consumers are becoming increasingly discerning in all aspects of the online shopping experience, not only comparing products between merchants, but in critiquing the delivery and returns options offered too.

“All retailers understandably want to mitigate the impact of returns on the bottom line; but making the process harder or less attractive for the end consumer is not the way to do it. The research indicates that this mindset will actually result in fewer customers, which no retailer can afford in this challenging climate.”

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For retailers now reopening physical stores, the research suggests that offering consumers the option to return e-commerce orders in-store is an untapped revenue opportunity, with 15% of Australian consumers reporting that they have made an additional purchase while returning an e-commerce order in-store.

Quantifying the value of those purchases, 89% of those consumers who had made a purchase said they had spent up to $200 in-store on those visits. Conversely, 40% of consumers said they had never returned an online purchase in-store, highlighting an opportunity for retailers to make free in-store returns more visible to drive in-store footfall.

“Retailers with a small or no physical store network can provide consumers the same level of convenience by offering services such as the Australia Post Collect & Return network. This service allows customers to drop off their e-commerce returns at post offices, supermarkets, pharmacies, department stores and shopping centres,” Dery added.

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